A man claimed he was threatened in Mexico to smuggle more
than $1 million in crystal meth into the United States, according to an arrest
Luis Francisco Mercado, 46, a Mexican citizen, was arrested
and charged with import, attempt to import and conspire to import the meth.
On Dec. 13, Mercado arrived at the Juarez-Lincoln
International Bridge driving a 2006 Honda Accord. At primary inspection,
Mercado gave a negative declaration and added he was on his way to Austin from
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer observed
Mercado demonstrating nervous behavior and trembling hands. Mercado was then
referred to secondary inspection, where an X-ray revealed anomalies in the
vehicle’s gas tank.
A K-9 unit also alerted to the odor of narcotics in the gas
tank area. CBP officers removed the gas tank and discovered a hidden
compartment in the tank containing approximately 55.73 pounds of crystal
methamphetamine. The contraband had an estimated street value of $1,114,600.
Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations took
over the case. Mercado allegedly agreed to provide them with a post-arrest
“Mercado admitted he knew the vehicle contained an unknown
amount of methamphetamine. Mercado claimed he was threatened in Mexico to
smuggle the methamphetamine into the (United States) and transport it to an
unknown location in central Texas,” states the affidavit.